Detectorists: A Quintessentially English Comedy

“Anything?”
“Fuck all.”

The opening dialogue of Detectorists is an expression of matter of fact disdain, which belies the deep passion Andy (Mackenzie Crook*) and Lance (Toby Jones) have for their hobby; in this case, metal detecting. Every philatelist, train spotter, bird watcher, pigeon fancier, weekend woodworker and, well, insert your hobby here ….. knows how it feels. You can’t explain it. You try, but the blank expressions prove you’re not getting through. You love what you do, and that’s all there is to it. Rewards? Very rare, but intensely satisfying; a penny black, a GW Moghul, a Green Winged Teal or that perfectly tight hand-cut dovetail will mean nothing to those around you but, inside, you’ll be doing the dance.…   [continue reading]

Blade Runner 2049 [REPORT & FIRST IMPRESSIONS]

This report features no plot details.

I wrote about Blade Runner 2049‘s first trailer here. Because the original film still stands as my favourite of all time (and has since I was fourteen-years-old), I was vitriolic in my ensuing cynicism. I thought a sequel would be ineffective in a number of ways. Firstly, Blade Runner itself is an enigma of spiralling complexity; all anchored by a simple central premise. Expanding on it, even faithfully, seemed a vacuous exercise in contrivance. More importantly, and of great concern, was the potential for a follow-up to dilute its parent. Trailers, and other promotional material, did nothing to quell my worries.…   [continue reading]

Star Trek: Discovery: Klingons, Crew Dynamics and Political Fiction [REPORT]

We’ve often discussed Star Trek here. In fact, our very first podcast episode opens with a conversation about Captain Kirk‘s third season sexism. I even followed that up with an article, and Star Trek has been a common subject of other guestless podcasts. Accordingly, it makes sense that I take a look at the two instalments of Star Trek: Discovery currently available to us. I’ve been an enormous fan of the franchise for the majority of my conscious life, so I hope I can provide some context and perspective beyond that of a fresher viewer.

With my overall feelings ending rather mixed, it would be pointless to sum up my thoughts in an opening soundbite.…   [continue reading]

Tim Heidecker & Neil Hamburger: Live at Gorilla, Manchester [REPORT]

On a neglected side-street of Manchester’s city centre, Gorilla sits quietly in the surrounding sprawl. To its right, past a tunnel perfectly sculpted for a stealthy, drunken evening piss, lies Dog Bowl; a bar teetering on the edge of achingly hipster, offering ten-pin bowling as a cacophonous aperitif to overpriced culinary dirge. Given that even the local trams feature caricatures with Monopoly Man moustaches, it seems an inescapable aesthetic. While the stereotype can cause an itch when you’re handing over double for a Jameson and Coke, it’s a welcoming and, eventually, comfortable world to sparsely visit. Within Gorilla, where that sub-culture seems defined, Tim Heidecker and Neil Hamburger proved, in more ways than one, that assumption is all too often erroneous.…   [continue reading]

Majken – Dancing Mountains [REVIEW]

Majken‘s debut LP, Dancing Mountains, is a whimsical and nostalgic set of twelve autobiographical songs. The mood that the record conjures mirrors the main themes explored throughout; a trip back in time, reflecting on “vivid dreams, fond memories and restless nights”. What makes the collection even more special is the personal touch. The songs reference specific locations encountered, and people she’s crossed paths with.

Dancing Mountains could have been pulled straight out of the late 60’s, and early 70s, surf-pop and avant-garde movement. Trickles of The Velvet Underground are clearly present, uniquely intertwined with elements of Scandinavian pop.…   [continue reading]

WWE Battleground 2017 [REPORT]

Publishing this two days after the event aired, I can’t help but question if there’s any point. Then I realised, one of the reasons that I cover WWE PPVs here is to track their progress and development over time. Missing one, in a year that will have fourteen by its end, may not seem a big deal. However, I feel that not reporting this one PPV would be unfair on certain talents within. For example, Randy Orton and Jinder Mahal have been running a questionable and tiresome feud for some time now. It would be the height of injustice not to comment on their Punjabi Prison match at this year’s Battleground; it made me quite like Mahal for the first time, which is always worthy of discussion.…   [continue reading]

The Great Developmental Professor Elemental

This article ties in to a podcast I recorded with Paul Alborough (Professor Elemental), available here.

In our last podcast, we spoke to David Liebe Hart. In that particular case, we had a personality on our hands who’s very difficult to detach from his character. The flip-side of that is a creative whose use of a character is acutely deliberate. That’s precisely the bill that Paul Alborough, best known for his popular Professor Elemental alter-ego, fits in spades. However, Alborough is a vast talent regardless of such construction. He calls to mind an important truth; something we’re all guilty of in an age of information.…   [continue reading]

WWE Money in the Bank 2017 [LIVE TWEET STREAM/REPORT]

For some reason, despite an intriguing card, I found myself unable to get too excited for Money in the Bank this year. I put that down to some personal rumblings going on in my life at the moment. That aside, I knew we’d be in for something worth seeing. I’d probably resigned to just watch the damn thing, rather than overthinking it too much. With a historic women’s Money in the Bank match scheduled, along with the standard edition as the main event, this pay-per-view was certain to be memorable in some way.

In the end, this was surely one of the strangest cards I’ve ever seen.…   [continue reading]

WWE BackLash 2017 [LIVE TWEET STREAM/REPORT]

As SmackDown‘s first dedicated PPV post-WrestleMania, my expectations for BackLash were as low as they were for Payback. In fact, if anything, my expectations were a little lower. However you try to dance around it, SmackDown‘s a B-show. That doesn’t mean it can’t bring some compelling things to the table. It’s just that, by and large, you can always look to Raw for a bit of added spectacle. With a main event pitching Jinder Mahal against Randy Orton, my hopes were far from high. The only thing on the card of real intrigue, to me, was the inevitable debut of Shinsuke Nakamura on a WWE main roster.…   [continue reading]

BONZIE Interview: Zone on Nine, Collaboration and Intimacy

I first discovered BONZIE, an American musician whose talent betrays her age, purely by accident one evening. Since, I haven’t been able to stop listening to her oddly cathartic music; strong in the belief that I haven’t heard songwriting this refreshing in years. Her first record, Rift Into the Secret of Things, is a gorgeous trek through melodious brevity. While short, the potency of the material within leapt from my speakers with an understated purity. To be more accurate, the music of BONZIE laps against your eardrum with all the playful provocation of relentless waves.

Like soft ocean ripples, her songwriting brings with it a depth that sounds like it’s swirled the entire planet to reach the quiet beach you find it on.…   [continue reading]